The Pacers and Pistons tip off their respective 2019-20 NBA seasons on Wednesday night at the Fieldhouse. While the Pacers start the season without their best player, Victor Oladipo, the Pistons, in a sporting move, will leave their best player, Blake Griffin (hamstring, knee), in Detroit.
Griffin’s backup Markieff Morris (back) is listed as questionable while rookie Sekou Doumbouya (concussion) stayed home with Blake.
Griffin will miss at least a couple of weeks which helps the Pacers since the two teams play, again on Monday and then a third time on Nov. 8. The third game may be when the Pistons hope to have Griffin return, but regardless, the double-big matchup of Drummand and Griffin vs. Sabonis and Turner won’t come to fruition in the first two games.
So, how will the Pacers adjust defensively?
Among the links, are a pair of articles (The Athletic, Indy Star) including extensive comments from Dan Burke and Nate McMillan which shine a positive light on the outlook for their team’s defensive prowess. Since neither of those guys would blow smoke about the defense, the hope they have for this group based on the effort they have seen, is both surprising and very welcomed to start the season.
From the Star, McMillan on T.J. Warren:
“We’ve been happy with the effort he’s given in the four preseason games,” McMillan said. “Busting through screens, trying to do the things we ask, we feel he’s going to get better. He’s making that effort. He’s not giving into saying he ‘can’t’. He’s not said a word about us challenging him defensively.
“Guys get better in this system because we continue to challenge them every day to play that style of basketball.”
From The Athletic, Dan Burke on the defensive side of the Domas/Myles pairing:
With so much talk about playing Turner and Sabonis, what’s the impact defensively?
I don’t know. (Laughs.) I really don’t. I’m watching closely. Right now, we’re asking Domas to do what our four man typically does. The one part that can spoil the soup is opponents like putting their four on Myles and their five on Domas, so now you’re running back cross-matching. We’re going to ask Myles to do the same. I’m watching it closely. Right now, we’re just asking Domas if he’s guarding the shooter to do his best and we’ll cover for you.
Burke also talked extensively about T.J. Warren focusing on the defensive end and how David West reached out to Burke to make sure he work his magic on West’s protege. Warren’s has been a willing student and making every effort to maintain the Pacers’ reputation as a tough, defensive team.
Now we’ll see if that effort translates to the games that count...tonight!
Enjoy the links: